Friday, December 5, 2014

Chik Chak Shabbat & Latke the Lucky Dog

If you are looking for some good books to share for Hanukkah, check these out.

Chik Chak Shabbat
by Mara Rockliff; illus. by Kyrsten Brooker
32 pages; ages 3-7
Candlewick Press, 2014

One Saturday morning, just like every Saturday morning, a delicious smell wafted from apartment 5-A.

themes: friendship, multicultural

This wonderful aroma tickles Tommy Santiago's nose, tempts Signora Bellagalli, tantalizes Mr. Moon, and brings smiles to the Omar family. Because they know it is Goldie's wonderful slow-cooking stew she calls cholent. And they know that they'll be invited to share the Shabbat meal.

What I like about this book: I like how Mara Rockliff explains why cholent is such a wonderful Shabbat meal, and how cooking it fits into a day where the world's busyness is put aside. But who makes the cholent when Goldie gets sick? Nobody knows how. Not to worry, say the Omars. They can bring potato curry. It's not cholent, but....

Everyone brings comfort food from their own culture and they set the table and serve it up. It's not cholent, but it tastes like Shabbat all the same. Rockliff includes a recipe at the back.

Latke, the Lucky Dog
by Ellen Fischer; illus. by Tiphanie Beeke
24 pages; ages 2-7
Kar-Ben publishing, 2014

I am one lucky dog! Imagine a mutt like me picked as a Hanukkah present.

theme: holiday, pets, multicultural

Latke's story begins at the animal sheter, when Zoe, Zach and their parents stroll in looking for a dog that's not too big and not too small. They bring Latke home on the first night of Hanukkah and he promptly climbs onto a dining room chair and eats the jelly donuts. That's OK, though, because the kids think he's hungry. "I am one lucky dog!" says Latke.

What I like about this book: Latke gets into new trouble each day of Hanukkah. He unwraps gifts, eats the latkes,chews on dreidels.... but despite his mischief, the kids forgive him because he's still adjusting to a new home. But by the eighth night... Oh, I can't ruin the surprise.

Beyond the books: Oh, definitely cook up some latkes and cholent. Try regular potato latkes first and then, when you're more adventurous, maybe fry up a batch of curried sweet potato latkes. Cholent is the original slow-cooked stew. You'll find a yummy recipe here - it's not Goldie's but it'll do.

Invite friends to bring their favorite "winter comfort" foods to a holiday pot-luck meal. Winter is a good time to invite the neighbors over for food and hot cider and a game of Parcheesi or cards. It's fun to taste what other people love to eat, whether it's macaroni and cheese or black beans and rice.

Learn something about winter holiday customs from a culture that's not yours. A game, a song, a dance, a costume, a decoration, a food or drink... it's fun to learn something new.

Today we're joining PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copies provided by publisher.


  1. I saw Chik Chak Shabbat and love the sense of community and sharing of traditions. Lovely review and perfect for today. Latke, the Lucky Dog sounds like a Christmas child-pleaser filled with humor and tradition. Lovely choices today.

  2. I love a good Hanukkah book the title of the first book sounds so fun. Thanks for suggesting these.

  3. These sound such warm-hearted stories celebrating Jewish traditions during this festive season.

  4. I don't know much about Hanukkah or Shabbat but these books both look like warm, fuzzy, comfort time. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Sue, I love your Hannukkah and Jewish traditions picks. . .I am fascinated by Jewish culture, which is actually connected in many ways to Christianity. Adding, as the author did, the multicultural aspect is clever and heartwarming, as Joanna said. Thanks for sharing!